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#pounditSunday, February 12, 2023


Colts reportedly locked in on 1 head coach candidate

Jim Irsay looking ahead

Aug 7, 2021; Canton, Ohio, USA; Edgerrin James, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Centennial Class (right) poses with his presenter Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay during the induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts appear to have narrowed their search for a new head coach all the way down to one candidate.

Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen has emerged as Indy’s top choice, according to multiple reports. The Colts began informing other candidates on Sunday morning — including Jeff Saturday — that they are no longer in the running.

Colts owner Jim Irsay on Tuesday urged fans to be patient and said an announcement on a new head coach would be coming in days, not hours. That was a strong indicator that Indy was eyeing one of the assistant coaches from either the Eagles or Kansas City Chiefs, who are preparing for the Super Bowl.

Other candidates who received second interviews with the Colts include Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and New York Giants Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, and Saturday, who served as Indianapolis’ interim head coach for the final seven games of the season.

It is possible that Steichen has been the Colts’ top choice all along. The 37-year-old served as the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2019 and 2020. He has been the Eagles’ OC since 2021. Philly’s offense ranked third in the league in points and yards this season.

Report: Sean Payton interviewed famous ex-head coach for Broncos’ DC job

Sean Payton on the sideline

Dec 12, 2021; East Rutherford, N.J.,USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton is in the process of assembling his coaching staff with the Denver Broncos, and he has reached out to an unexpected candidate with whom NFL fans are very familiar.

Payton this week interviewed Rex Ryan for Denver’s defensive coordinator job, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports.

Ryan has not coached in the NFL since the Buffalo Bills fired him in 2016. The Bills let him go with one game remaining that season after Ryan went 15-16 in nearly two seasons.

Prior to his fairly brief stint with Buffalo, Ryan was the head coach of the New York Jets from 2009-2014. He went 46-50 in six seasons and led the team to a 4-2 playoff record. All of the postseason games were played in Ryan’s first two years on the job.

The 60-year-old Ryan has been working as an analyst for ESPN since 2016.

Ryan made a name for himself as a successful defensive coordinator before he was hired by the Jets. He was a defensive assistant for the Super Bowl champion 2000 Baltimore Ravens, who had one of the best defenses in NFL history. Ryan worked with the Ravens from 1999-2008 and was the team’s defensive coordinator for the last four of those seasons.

Ryan has had a successful run at ESPN, and it is quite possible he is content with that gig. The fact that he met with Payton seems to indicate he has some interest in the Denver job, however.

Payton also recently interviewed another former head coach for Denver’s DC job, though that candidate has since taken another position.

Vic Fangio signed with Eagles for new role ahead of Super Bowl

Vic Fangio on the sideline

Aug 8, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio watches from the sidelines in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Vic Fangio last month agreed to join the Miami Dolphins as defensive coordinator, but he has been tackling another important job in the meantime.

Fangio has been working as a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles for several weeks. He had assisted the offense prior to the Eagles reaching the Super Bowl, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Fangio quietly signed a two-week contract to work with Philadelphia’s defensive coaching staff after the NFC Championship Game. He will officially sign his deal with the Dolphins after the Super Bowl.

Fangio is widely viewed as one of the best defensive minds in football, which is why the Dolphins had competition to land him. The 64-year-old also spent several seasons as a head coach with the Denver Broncos, so he is much more than just a defensive assistant. That is why the Eagles initially brought him in to help offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and then signed him to a newer deal to keep him around for the Super Bowl.

There were some reports that Fangio joined the Eagles as a consultant after the Broncos fired him last offseason, but he took time off instead. Some of his friends on Philly’s coaching staff then reached out to him after the regular season, and Fangio has been working with the team since.

You can understand why the Dolphins had to make Fangio the highest-paid coordinator in football.

Report: Cardinals to interview new head coach candidate

Michael Bidwill at a Cardinals game

Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill walks onto the field before his team plays against the Atlanta Falcons October 13, 2019. Credit: Michael Chow/The Republic, Arizona Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Arizona Cardinals have taken a very patient approach with their search for a new head coach, and that may have something to do with one of their top candidates being a part of the Super Bowl.

The Cardinals are expected to request permission to interview Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, according to multiple reports. Their other finalists appear to be New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.

This is the first clear indication that the Cardinals have interest in Gannon. Some had wondered if they were delaying their search because they had an eye on Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, though Steichen seems like a stronger candidate for a different job.

Gannon, 40, has been the defensive coordinator in Philly for the past two seasons under Nick Sirianni. He hinted last month that he does not want to leave for another job, but that could obviously change once the Eagles’ season ends.

Frank Clark could set 1 remarkable record in Super Bowl

Frank Clark looks at the camera

Jan 12, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark (55) against the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark is four months shy of his 30th birthday, but he is already on the verge of setting an impressive NFL record.

Clark has 13.5 career postseason sacks entering Super Bowl LVII. Former New England Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest holds the all-time NFL record with 16, so Clark needs just three more to claim the honor and 2.5 to share the top spot.

Clark has had the good fortune of playing on some outstanding teams during his NFL career. He has appeared in 16 playoff games across eight seasons. He spent his first four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks before joining the Chiefs in 2019, and both of those teams have had a lot of success over the past decade.

Of course, it is not a coincidence that Clark’s teams almost always reach the postseason. The former Michigan star is one of the best pass-rushers in football, so you can expect the Philadelphia Eagles to do everything they can to slow him down on Sunday.

Report reveals Packers’ stance on Aaron Rodgers trade

Aaron Rodgers in a hat

Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) reacts following the loss against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers has said he expects to make a decision on his future in the coming days, and the Green Bay Packers plan to respect that decision — even if Rodgers informs them he wants to play for another team.

Rodgers revealed on “The Pat McAfee Show” this week that he will begin a four-day isolation retreat on Monday. During that time, Rodgers will be alone in a small house with no outside light and provisions being given to him through a slot in a door. The 39-year-old expects the retreat to help give him the clarity he needs to determine whether he wants to play football next season.

According to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Packers are open to working with Rodgers to facilitate a trade. Rodgers would need to rework his contract for salary cap reasons if he wants to make that happen, but the team is not planning to stand in his way.

Rodgers signed a 3-year, $150.815 million restructured deal with the Packers last offseason. He has a $58.3 million signing bonus for 2023 and a cap hit of $31.6 million. His signing bonus has already been spread out until 2026.

Several teams have reportedly inquired about Rodgers’ availability already. The Packers have told them they are not yet ready to engage in trade discussions, but the door obviously is not closed.

One recent report claimed the Packers actually prefer to move on from Rodgers.

The New York Jets will undoubtedly pursue Rodgers this offseason, as they have said they are looking to making a big splash at the quarterback position. Rodgers also acknowledged last weekend that he has repeatedly been linked to another AFC team.

Nets had ridiculous asking price for Lakers in Kyrie Irving trade

Joe Tsai looking on

May 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; Taiwanese businessman Joe Tsai (left) looks on during the second half of the preseason WNBA game between the New York Liberty and the China National Team at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, reportedly in part because team owner Joe Tsai did not want to accomodate the guard by sending him to his preferred destination of the Los Angeles Lakers. Now we’re learning just how much the Lakers were willing to send to Brooklyn to get Irving.

NBA reporter Marc Stein said last week that Tsai wanted to avoid trading Irving to the Lakers. On a podcast episode released Friday, Stein elaborated on the Lakers’ offer.

Stein said that the Nets’ asking price of the Lakers was much higher than their asking price for any other team.

“I was told the Nets asked from the Lakers way more than they asked from any other team for Kyrie and they didn’t just want the two first-round picks and (Russell) Westbrook. They wanted (Austin) Reaves, they wanted (Max) Christie, they wanted Rui Hachimura in a separate deal. They wanted everything the Lakers had, and I think they took less from the Mavs,” Stein said.

Instead of taking all that, the Nets took from the Mavericks Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick and two second-round picks.

Is it possible that the Nets preferred what Dallas offered over what the Lakers offered? Or is it pretty unanimous that the Lakers’ offer was superior and Tsai just wanted to stick it to Irving after Irving was a pain in his rear for four years? Maybe we won’t find out, but it sure seems like Tsai had no interest in doing Irving any favors.

Nuggets adding impact point guard on buyout market

Michael Malone smiling

Feb 5, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone reacts during the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Western Conference-best Denver Nuggets are loading up for a title run.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Saturday that veteran point guard Reggie Jackson is finalizing a contract buyout with the Charlotte Hornets and plans to sign with the Nuggets upon clearing waivers. Jackson was just traded to Charlotte by the LA Clippers (along with a second-round pick) in exchange for center Mason Plumlee.

The 32-year-old Jackson, who has averaged 14.4 points per game over the last two NBA seasons combined, should be a quick-serve offense guy off the bench for Denver. He will likely function as the backup point guard behind Jamal Murray and effectively replaces Bones Hyland, who was just traded by the Nuggets to (incidentally) Jackson’s former team, the Clippers.

Denver already leads the West at 39-18 this season and now looks to be stacking up depth for the postseason. It appears that Jackson, who is still going for his first career NBA title, picked them over another top contender.

Brock Purdy has interesting take on Eagles fans

Brock Purdy holds the ball

Dec 4, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) looks for an open receiver against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The evidence continues to mount that Brock Purdy is indeed him.

Speaking with Rob Maaddi of the AP this weekend, the San Francisco 49ers QB Purdy gave an interesting take on the notoriously ruthless Philadelphia Eagles fans, whom he played in front of during the NFC title game.

“It was electric, I’m not gonna lie,” said Purdy of the atmosphere in Philly. “That’s part of the game. Honestly, I love going into environments like that. I’ve played in a bunch of environments with 90-plus thousand [people] in college, so I’m familiar with it. But going into that one was special.”

Purdy was a 23-year-old rookie quarterback playing his very first NFL game in Philly … as the starter in a conference championship game. While Purdy suffered a rough elbow injury in the early going as the 49ers went on to get blown out 31-7, that is a great attitude for a young player to have about one of the toughest environments in all of football.

Not everyone in the 49ers contingent feels the same way about the Eagles fans though. After the loss, one San Francisco player’s wife complained about the treatment she got at Lincoln Financial Field.

James Harden shares interesting comment about dysfunctional Nets

James Harden dribbles

Feb 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) brings the ball up court against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets hoped to be championship contenders when they signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2019. Those hopes were reinvigorated when the Nets acquired James Harden in a 4-team trade in 2021. However, things never worked out as all parties wished, and the Nets finally have broken apart their core.

The Nets traded Harden to the 76ers last year. Then just last week, the Nets traded Irving to the Dallas Mavericks and Durant to the Phoenix Suns.

Harden addressed the matter on Saturday night after his Philadelphia 76ers beat the Nets 101-98. He said it was “frustrating” that due to injuries or other reasons, he, KD and Irving hardly ever played together and never got the chance to see what they could do on the court.

“Frustrating. It’s a lot of what ifs, I think when you play less than 20 games together. So it’s a little bit frustrating, but it is what it is. Hopefully everybody’s in a good place now and we can move on,” Harden said, via ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

Harden then shared an interesting comment and said that he feels vindicated that people now see he wasn’t the problem or crazy one on the Nets.

“I don’t look like the crazy one,” Harden said. “I don’t look like the guy or the quitter or whatever the media want to call me. I knew what was going on and I just decided to…hey, I’m not built for this. I don’t want to deal with that. I want to play basketball and have fun.”

Harden said he got out of Brooklyn last year because of all the dysfunction that he didn’t see changing.

That’s true. Harden is not the crazy one. That would be Irving. What’s crazy is that Harden didn’t realize Irving was crazy and a flake prior to requesting a trade to Brooklyn. Did he miss how Irving ended his tenures in Cleveland and Boston?

Harden asked to be traded away from Houston and wanted to go to the Nets. He cost himself a season with his poor decision-making.